Posts from 07/2022

Friday, July 01, 2022

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Inside Number 9, Season One:
We really enjoyed the first season (6 episodes) of this British anthology show which features different stories about people that live in apartment or room number 9. The balance of wry and macabre is well-done and the British humour is pleasant. The last episode was the weakest of the set. We liked this enough to continue on to Season Two, but that requires an extra video streaming subscription, which is a resounding NO. On Amazon Video.

Final Grade: A-

Dave, Season Two:
Season Two was much more experimental than Season One and sometimes seemed to tread water a bit. If Master of None and Atlanta had a white baby, it would feel like this season. That said, we enjoyed it for the most part and the ending was solid. On Hulu.

Final Grade: B-

Brooklyn 99, Season Four:
Pleasant to pass the time, with a few great laughs. On Hulu.

Final Grade: B-

Bill and Ted Face the Music:
This is an awful movie with no redeeming characteristics. Save your time and rewatch the original instead. On Amazon Video.

Final Grade: F

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Monday, July 04, 2022

Happy Fourth of July!

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day in history

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Birth Day

Maia is 5 today!

Her most recent favourite activities including drawing or painting bunnies and cutting endless crafts out of her Don't Let the Pigeon Finish the Activity Book activity book. However, bunnies have taken a slight dip in popularity -- on June 3, she said that she might not need Original Bunny anymore and that maybe Ian could have him as Ian grows up. She still carries Original Bunny around, but always pairs it with Lyla Cat, a fluffy white cat from her wall of stuffed animals.

Speaking of cats, Maia's favourite pretend game is to be a cat. She wears cat ear headbands (paired with a princess headband to be Princess Cat) and changes her name monthly. In May, she was Pussy Cat, June, Timmy Cat, and July, Hello Kitty. Drawing inspiration from real life, she will pretend to be a cat that has to throw up a hairball so Daddy Cat has to hold her over the kitchen floor so she doesn't get throw up on the carpet.

When not being a cat, Maia will walk around the house making continuous nonsense sounds (think "Lerdle lerdle lerdle..."). Her trifecta of movies is still Frozen, Frozen 2, and Encanto, although the classic 101 Dalmations occasionally pops up.

We're throwing her a little family birthday today, and then a bigger kid birthday in our backyard on Saturday. The latter will not be ostentatious -- a pinata and sprinkler from Five Below, a plate of wrap sandwiches from Costco, and little gift bags for her friends.

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Friday, July 08, 2022

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Essentials III, by Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox:
This compilation album is a mixed bag -- while it has some definite classics like Haley Reinhart's cover of Habits, it's also dragged down by some forgettable early covers (that were later redone) and weak voices.

Final Grade: B-

Happiest Season:
This is a pleasant, by-the-numbers Christmas rom-com whose main point is to reassure us that Victor Garber is still alive. It features a fun, recognizable cast playing in their comfort zones.

Final Grade: B-

Back to Ford Lane by Just Jack:
Just Jack's rap themes have evolved over time from incessant clubbing to telling his kids to get their damned shoes on, but I've always liked his work. This acoustic album is a pleasant bit of nostalgia spanning songs from his whole career.

Final Grade: B

Santorini:
This board game has a perfectly designed set of rules -- the basics on a single side of a page, easy to learn in a minute, with cards you can add in later for replayability and more advanced strategies. Maia is fairly adept at it after just five games although she does sometimes get distracted by just building towers and forgetting the win condition.

Final Grade: B

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day in history

Monday, July 11, 2022

Weekend Wrap-up

Our first massively multiplayer birthday party experience was a success!

We hosted 8 extra kids and 5 parents on a surprisingly moderate day (postponed one day from Saturday to Sunday due to unexpected rainstorms).

Activities included the pool, water balloons, the new water table from the grandparents, a pinata, cornhole, soccer, and birthday cupcakes.

Lesson learned for next year: Pinatas are designed for adults. Reduce structural integrity before the party.

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

6:32 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:39 AM: Bagel for breakfast, paired with leftover meat/cheese party rolls.
8:17 AM: Breakfast for babies.
8:54 AM: Maia is off to Claude Moore summer camp (Pirate-themed).
10:28 AM: About to dial in for my 10:30 meeting.
11:21 AM: A working lunch of party leftovers.
1:53 PM: Running a mile and finally getting around to watching the last, self-indulgently long episode of Stranger Things.
3:24 PM: Relaxing in the living room.
5:03 PM: Frozen-themed Legos.
5:28 PM: The thunderstorm arrives just after our dinner delivery.
5:35 PM: Half rack of ribs from Sweetwater Tavern for dinner.
6:23 PM: Necessary bath after combing his hair with a yogurt-encrusted fork.
8:29 PM: Bonus picture: Double rainbow!

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Friday, July 15, 2022

Maia's 12 of 12

Maia's perspective on life (culled down from over 200 pictures taken between March 2022 and July 2022)

Maia introduces her current favourite stuffed animals:

Maia shows you a picture:

Maia shows you birds:

Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Monday, July 18, 2022

Ian Year 1 Month 3 Battle Report

As of the beginning of July, Ian is now walking!

He consistently wakes up between 6:00 and 6:30 and will usually take a long nap around 11 AM. The 4 PM nap is either "asleep right away for an hour" or "shriek for 30 minutes until someone gets him". He goes to bed around 7, usually lying in the crib quietly for a half hour before dozing off.

Eating is still his favourite activity. Breakfast is usually a whole banana, many blueberries, 3 sausage links, and anything he sees me eat. Lunch and dinner are harder, as he's more picky when not super hungry. He tends to fixate on the things he wants so we hide the watermelon until the end of the meal and start him with a tray of healthy broccoli or a tin of yogurt. During many meals, whatever is left on the plate gets mixed into the yogurt to sneak it into his mouth.

Ian has a massive set of lungs and no concept of inside voice. Once he's awake in his crib, he soon reaches top volume to wake everyone up. Sometimes he competes with Amber, our now-deaf cat, to see who can caterwaul the loudest at 6:01 AM. Carrying him while he's having a meltdown is somewhat similar to the feeling of being Pavarotti's costar while he's singing La Donna e mobile at your face.

Current Likes: saying Bye Bye, pointing at everything in every book, petting Amber with his face, standing precariously on rocking chairs, scribbling with chalk or crayons, a game of peekaboo, being involved in whatever Maia's doing, bouncing balls, neighborhood walks, phones.

Current Dislikes: not being allowed to bug Maia, most dinner menus, most naps, watching people go outside while being stuck behind the baby gate.

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Data Day: Mileage on My Honda Accord

I've had my Honda Accord for over 10 years now.

  • Yesterday's Mileage: 58426 miles
  • Travel Pre-COVID: 6536 miles/year
  • Travel Post-COVID: 2834 miles/year

tagged as data | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Friday, July 22, 2022

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The De2our by Ekoh:
I liked a few of this rapper's songs on Pandora so I purchased this album. The marketing around it isn't great, as his three albums are titled "The Detour", "The De2our", and "The D3tour", making them confusingly undiscoverable in searches. Most of this album (De2our) was underwhelming -- nice beats but few great hooks. Ekoh sounds like a cross between Lil Dicky and Chris Webby but doesn't seem to bring anything unique to this style of music that those guys haven't already done.

Final Grade: C+

Stranger Things, Season Four:
This season is self-indulgently long but has a lot of good parts, and works more often than it doesn't. It's not as good as Season Three, but definitely better than Two. There were a couple side plots that I could have skipped entirely (the Russian plot and the reliving the past plot) but I appreciated the way everything came together in the way-too-long finale. Also, the fact that the last two episodes were held over and released after the next month's billing cycle was an obvious money grab from a company losing subscribers like crazy. (We finally unsubscribed this month after 9 years). On Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Brooklyn 99, Season Five:
Pleasant but forgettable, with some good laughs. On Hulu.

Final Grade: B-

Only Murders in the Building, Season One:
We loved this show starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, which brings a fun perspective on true crime podcasts that have thrived over the past decade. Well-paced reveals and eccentric side characters kept us engaged all the way to the end. Watch it! On Hulu.

Final Grade: A+

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day in history

Monday, July 25, 2022

Jan 6 Day

When the January 6 hearings began, I was very skeptical that they would have any value.

I consider myself reasonably well-informed: I follow the news daily from multiple sources and use tools like allsides.com to understand how media bias influences the way events are presented. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the January 6 protest and subsequent insurrection, and worried that the hearings would just be grandstanding by camera-loving politicians. I was wrong.

Watching the hearings has forced me to revise my stance. I originally perceived as a clown car of cosplayers that got out of hand but never had a real chance of succeeding. It was actually a methodically planned and sustained attack on the peaceful transfer of power, which only failed because of lucky coincidences and the bravery of individuals.

In eight hearings, the committee has presented a straightforward case with visual and audio evidence that connects the former President's intentional actions to the ensuing violence. The committee gave former administration members the space to share authentic answers instead of competing with each other for the best newsworthy sound bite. The steady pace of the hearings dampened the noise, emotion, and distraction of the 24-hour news cycle, allowing the information to stand on its own without cheap theatrics.

My goal is not to convince you of the conclusions I've personally drawn -- it's to urge you to take some time from your packed lives to watch some of the hearings. Approach them with an open mind and weigh what you see and hear as if you were summoned to jury duty. Challenge your assumptions that might be based on emotion or incomplete information. Search for nuance and shades of grey instead of boiling the whole affair down to a visceral gut reaction of "truth or lies". You can watch on C-SPAN to avoid unnecessary commentary from news personalities.

This is complex news that demands attention and patience to digest. It's not always exciting. It doesn't fit cleanly into a meme or a 30-second TikTok. However, it's critical that we understand how serious a threat this insurrection actually was and prevent it from happening again. If we let it slide, the next attempt is guaranteed to be more brazen and successful.

tagged as deep thoughts, politics | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

ASL Day

BU: "Hey Maia, what does this mean?"

MU: "I love you!"

BU: "And what does this mean?"

MU: "I love you with all that I am!"

tagged as offspring | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Friday, July 29, 2022

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2022 album.

  • Events
    • Went to the dentist on F 7/1.

    • Had Ghazaley and Mike over for vegan tacos on S 7/2.

    • Had Elizabeth, Renae, and Sammie over for the afternoon on S 7/3.

    • Rebecca, Maia, and Ian went to Lake Barcroft with Rebecca's parents on M 7/4. Rebecca and Maia went to the Herndon fireworks that night.

    • Maia got sick with a non-COVID sore throat on T 7/5. Rebecca caught it and had the sore throat for another two weeks.

    • Maia had a family birthday party on W 7/6.

    • Maia had a kid-filled birthday party with water activities on S 7/10.

    • Visited my parents with Maia on S 7/16 to teach them about their new smartphones.

    • Went to Taylorstown on S 7/17 for a belated 4th celebration.

    • Rebecca and Maia went to Pohick Bay and Pirate's Cove with our Fredericksburg friends on H 7/21. I stayed home with Ian and tooled around Sterling.

    • Airport drop-off for my parents on F 7/22.

    • Lunch visit to the Smiths on S 7/23.

    • Maia and I drove to Alexandria on the hottest day of the heat wave to water plants, on S 7/24.

    • Ghazaley stopped by for a birthday visit after dinner on H 7/28.

    • Picked up my parents at the airport on F 7/29.

    • Rebecca, Maia, and Ian went to Lake Barcroft with Rebecca's parents on S 7/30.

    • Had Car and Jordan over for sushi dinner on S 7/31.

  • Projects
    • Refilled the refrigerant in our cars with weak A/C on M 7/18.

    • Laid down some new mulch in the neighbourhood common area on S 7/30.

  • Consumerism
    • Enjoyed watching Only Murders in the Building, Season One.

    • Still playing Fallout 76 at level 274.

    • No amazing new music or books this month.

July's Final Grade: B-, lots of heat and sickness without much downtime

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments
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